People have been debating between aluminium and uPVC windows for many years. They’re both durable and require little to no maintenance.
Besides that, neither material has a tendency to warp. That’s what makes them perfect for windows.
Yet, there are several differences between the two materials. Because of that, they come with a distinct set of advantages and disadvantages. Plus, each one has specific applications.
So, if you’re choosing between aluminium vs uPVC windows, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about each material.
We’ll also walk you through the benefits and drawbacks of each one.
Aluminium Windows Overview
As you can guess by the name, these windows consist of glass panes surrounded by aluminium frames.
The metallic skeleton enhances the windows’ durability and strength. On top of that, it’ll improve the overall resistance to corrosion.
Moving on, aluminium is lightweight, which makes installing it a walk in the park. Plus, the metal comes in several styles, designs, and finishes.
You can find aluminium windows in all sorts of shapes and size
Besides that, the metal is incredibly low-maintenance. Once you install it in place, you won’t have to do much to keep it looking shiny and new.
For that reason, aluminium is suitable for many types of buildings. That includes apartment complexes, homes, offices, and commercial structures.
Finally, aluminium windows can provide acoustic and thermal insulation. This means it can keep the interior of your home quiet and warm. Because of that, you can save on your utility bills
and enjoy better soundproofing in your home.
All of this makes aluminium windows one of the most popular varieties in the UK.
- Highly resistant to the elements, which means it’s low-maintenance
- Eco-friendly, since it’s an amazing thermal insulator, it’ll reduce energy use for heating
- Durable metal increases the security of your home
- Aesthetically pleasing and comes in many styles and designs
- Prone to condensation, so you may see water droplets forming on the glass
- Isn’t suitable for environments with high salt or water concentration in the air
uPVC Windows Overview
uPVC is a little less widely known than aluminium. The name stands for unplasticised polyvinyl chloride.
It’s a lightweight plastic that we can use for construction and building purposes. That’s because it’s easy to install and doesn’t require much maintenance. With a simple damp cloth, you’ll be able to clean the window without much effort.
Aside from that, uPVC is exceptionally sturdy. It can handle a lot of wear and tear without warping or moving out of place.
In addition, it can offer excellent thermal insulation. It’ll trap warm air inside your home and help you maintain the interior temperature.
On top of that, uPVC windows are fully customisable. You can find them in a wide selection of shapes and sizes that can fit any space.
Plus, they’re available in many styles, with countless finishing options.
Yet, the biggest advantage of uPVC windows is that you can reinforce them. Users can install secure locking systems to provide an extra layer of security. That’s why they’re ideal for personal homes where safety is key.
- Manufacturing uPVC windows is easy, which should keep costs low
- Can survive for many years with little to no maintenance
- Resists salt corrosion, which makes it perfect for coastal areas
- Increases security since you can reinforce it
- Repair and assembly can be time-consuming
- Isn’t suitable for high-rise buildings because it can’t handle the high wind pressure
Aluminium vs uPVC Windows
Now that you have a little background on each window, we can jump into the differences. In this section, we’ll dive into the most notable distinctions between aluminium and uPVC.
1. Styles and Designs
Windows are an incredibly crucial component in your home’s aesthetics. Since you can see them from the outside, the finish will have a major impact on the overall look of your house.
So, when choosing a window frame, you have to consider the style of your property.
Luckily, both aluminium and uPVC frames come in a wide
range of designs. Yet, the former offers a lot more options.
With aluminium windows, you can choose between over 150 different colour options. Plus, there are quite a few finishes to consider.
- Mill finish
- Wood grain
- Liquid paints
- Bright dipping
Because of that, the metallic frame usually has a more modern look. This makes it ideal for new homes with a contemporary twist.
Moving on, uPVC also comes in a few shades and designs. Yet your options will be a little limited.
You can only choose between timber finishes and solid colours. For that reason, uPVC frames tend to have a more rustic look.
So, they’ll seamlessly fit into cottages and other rural homes.
When it comes to maintenance, aluminium and uPVC are on equal footing. Both materials are exceptionally sturdy.
That means, once you install them, you won’t have to do much. Neither material has a tendency to warp, so they can keep their shape for years.
Besides that, rotting isn’t a common issue with uPVC or aluminium. So, you won’t have to worry about keeping your windows dry all year round.
All you have to do to keep the windows looking brand new is wipe
them down. Using a damp cloth, you can simply rub away any dirt or debris.
Other than that, you may need to oil the hinges, handles, and window channels. This will ensure the moving parts stay lubricated so they can glide easily. That will reduce the friction between the glass panes and the frame. Not only will this decrease wear and tear, but it’ll make opening your windows much easier.
There’s nothing worse than having to pull a window out of the
wall to replace it. It’ll leave you with a massive hole in the side of your home. Because of that, when you’re shopping for window frames, you have to take durability into account.
Thankfully, both uPVC and aluminium are quite sturdy. They do a fantastic job of resisting weather elements like rain and frost.
For that reason, they can maintain their shape and finish for years on end. Yet, there are a couple of issues that face each material.
First up, uPVC can’t handle high wind pressure. The plastic will crumble under the force and degrade.
Moving on, aluminium is particularly vulnerable to salt and humidity. With extended exposure, the metal may begin to rust or erode. Although, it’ll take years for that to happen.
Lastly, aluminium has a much longer lifespan than uPVC. Th
e plastic can last for close to 30 years without fail. However, the metal can withstand the elements for 50 years, and maybe even more.
4. Thermal Insulation
Most people think that aluminium is a poor insulator. Yet, that’s a common misconception.
The reason behind this train of thought is that the metal has a high thermal conductivity. This means heat can travel through the material rapidly.
That’s why aluminium typically feels cold to the touch. For that reason, many people assume that heat is going to be able to radiate out of the house easily.
However, this couldn’t be further away from the truth. That’s because window manufacturers use Aerogel. It’s a synthetic material that’ll sit between the external and internal aluminium frames. So, heat won’t be able to travel from the inside out, or vice versa.
Moving on, uPVC is an excellent insulator on its own. Because of that, you won’t find a major difference in thermal conduction between the two window types.
That may make choosing a material for the frames a little tricky. So, to make your life easier, make sure to check the Window Energy Rating (WER) of each material beforehand. This number will tell you how good the window is at trapping heat.
Installing a window is no easy feat. There are many factors to consider and details to take into account.
For instance, you have to keep in mind the measurements and levelling. So, you’ll need a specific skill set to tackle the project. That’s why we recommend leaving it to the pros at Homeshield – our team of expert installers will do an excellent job, and you won’t have to lift a finger.
Yet, uPVC is slightly lighter than aluminium. That means carrying it around and putting it in place will be much easier.
Other than that, uPVC is softer than the metal. For that reason, it’s a lot more forgiving if you make a few mistakes with the measurements (which we would never do, of course).
So, installing the material should be a bit easier than putting in aluminium windows.
When you rely on professionals to install them for you though, you shouldn’t notice any difference between aluminium and uPVC. Both will take about an hour or two to install, for each window.
Window safety is a crucial part of your home security system. This is especially true if you live on the ground floor.
Fortunately, both aluminium and uPVC frames are unshakable. They can handle a lot of force and stand tall afterwards.
Aside from that, you can reinforce both types of windows. You can add all sorts of locks and latches to ensure they don’t fly open.
As you can tell, this means there isn’t much difference when it comes to security. How safe the windows are will depend solely on the choices you make when selecting a window with us – but our customer service team can advise further if security is your main concern.
Yet, uPVC takes the lead when it comes to privacy. That’s because the plastic material can block out almost all the noise from the outside. While aluminium is quite soundproof, some noises may make it through the metal.
So, if your main goal is a quiet home, uPVC is the way to go.
We’re all familiar with condensation. It’s when moist air hits a cold surface and forms water droplets.
Sadly, this is a common occurrence with windows, especially if you live in a humid area. The condensation can wreak havoc on your window frames. That’s because the water droplets will make their way into every nook and cranny. This can lead to a few issues.
For starters, the extra moisture may result in mould growth. Not only will that ruin the exterior of your home, but it may cause a couple of health issues.
Besides that, the water droplets can break down your windows. With uPVC, the frames will discolour and may slightly warp.
As for aluminium, it has a tendency to start rusting and degrading.
While discolouration can reduce the kerb appeal of your home, it won’t impact security. Unfortunately, the same isn’t true for metallic frames.
As soon as they begin eroding, you’ll need to replace them to ensure the safety of your property.
That means uPVC takes the lead in this category.
We can talk about the topic of cost in one of two ways. First up, we can look at the issue in terms of installation and material prices.
In that case, aluminium is the more expensive option. It’ll cost you more to manufacture the metal frames to your exact specifications.
Moving on, we can discuss costs in terms of longevity. While aluminium is technically more pricey, it’ll last for a lot longer than uPVC.
So, in the long run, it may be more economical to go the metallic route. But our customer service can discuss all of this with you when you’re deciding on the best windows for your home.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Aluminium Better Than uPVC for Summer Home Windows?
The answer to this question will depend on the location of your property. If your summer home is near a coastal area, then uPVC is the best way to go.
That’s because the plastic is much more resistant to high salt concentrations in the air.
Which One Will Last Longer, uPVC or Aluminium Windows?
Both types of windows can last for many years. Yet, aluminium typically has a longer lifespan.
The metal can survive for over 50 years in normal conditions. As for the plastic material, it’ll begin fading away after about 30 years of service.
If you’re debating aluminium vs uPVC windows, there are a few factors to consider. For starters, when it comes to designs, aluminium takes the lead. That’s because it comes in a few more colours and styles.
Aluminium is also a lot more durable than uPVC and can last for more than 20 years longer.
Yet, uPVC windows are more resistant to condensation. So, if you live in a particularly humid area, uPVC is the way to go, and they’re cheaper to install.
The choice is ultimately yours, but with such a wide range of windows available, you’ll be sure to find something you love with Homeshield.